20 Questions with Jane Cay, Founder & CEO of birdsnest

Ally Feiam By Ally Feiam | 18 May 2022

As the winner of the Top Personalisation Award at the All Star Bash 2022, birdsnest is a key player when it comes to dressing women wonderfully. Jane Cay, the founder and CEO of birdsnest, considers herself an ‘accidental’ leader, now running one of the most successful retail brands in the country. We asked her 20 questions to find out a bit more about the retail leader. What makes her day better? Are there any skills she’d love to master?

1. What is your favourite part about your job?

Building and being part of a community that is our ‘nest’.

2. If you weren’t in retail, what industry would you like to work in?

I’d be a careers counsellor in high schools. Actually, I did my counselling diploma and worked in a school back in 2004, I thoroughly loved it but it was also the year I invested in a retail store in a country town, that store later launched online and became birdsnest. A sliding door moment.

3. What kind of student were you in high school?

One that took it all way too seriously!

4. What was the first live concert you attended?

Sting.

 

5. What has been the proudest moment in your career?

Oh, they are generally the micro-moments…..like when someone in your team tells you how much the role or the team means to them. But in terms of bigger moments – coming #4 best place to work in Australia was a pretty good feeling for everyone in the nest!

6. What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

Sometimes it is more about how independent you need to be rather than the distance itself. Going to boarding school felt far from home, even though it was only 3 hours down the road, lots of growing up, and it was good for me!

7. Have you ever broken a bone? How did you do it?

My arm, trying to do a backflip off the monkey bars in Primary School.

8. If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

My Dad’s mum, Una Parry Boyce or Ma to me, who would be well over 100 now if she was still alive. She was a force of nature, receiving an Order of Australia for her contribution to war widows in this country. She was the best storyteller and I always walked away wiser from any chat with her.

9. What do you enjoy about this industry?

That there is room to make up your own rules.

10. What is one thing that retailers do that drives you up the wall?

Mmmm not much drives me up the wall and I spend more time being impressed by how our industry evolves … as a customer though, I can feel let down by service that doesn’t have that ‘care factor’.

11. What is your favourite film?

Any chance to watch a movie is such a treat. The film I’ve watched the most (because I had more time then) was “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” with Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt, it was an ’80s teen dance classic!

12. What are three words that would describe you?

Too hard – I’m human so totally flawed! On a good day, I could be described as generous and compassionate and on a bad day, I could be described as a tunnel-visioned workaholic!

13. What is one thing that can instantly make your day better?

A moment to look up at the clouds!

14. Have you ever overcome a fear?

a) What was it, and how did you overcome it?

Yes, I feel like I overcome minor fears daily. In terms of feeling terrified – dancing with a professional male Latino dancer in front of hundreds of people in a local charity fundraiser for Cancer Research was up there. Most challenges are in your head, so once I’d learnt the steps, it was all about facing the voices in my head. I read an article about Beyonce having an alter ego to give her confidence during performances and that strategy really helped!

15. Is there any advice you’d give your 16-year-old self?

It will be OK, trust that inner voice.

16. What is one song that you would request a DJ to play at a party?

‘What a feeling’ from Flashdance – our wedding song! I genuinely do love to dance 🙂

17. What is one skill you would love to master?

Tennis – currently having lessons!

18. Say you’re stranded on a desert island (and all basics are met), what are three things you would take with you?

Chocolate, Ugg Boots, My Family (hoping I can pack them as I’d be a bit stuffed without them!)

19. You’re at a cafe. What is your go-to beverage order?

Cappuccino with extra chocolate sprinkles!

20. What was the last thing you bought online?

a) Did you add express shipping?

Dresses for my 15 and 16-year-olds who were going to a father-daughter ball with their Dad and yes to express – they arrived just in time! It was a melt a mother’s heart moment, you blink and they are all grown up!

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